Utah Trip Advice
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SCWVA
February 14, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
I've booked a trip to Utah in March. We arrive on a Saturday night, we have booked a place in Alta starting Sunday night. We will be skiing Alta/Snowbird for a couple of days. I have skied both Alta & Snowbird on a number of occasions in the past, but my wife has not experinced Alta yet. I unfortunately have not skied any other resorts or areas in Utah, beyond a backcountry trip with Park City Cats (www.pccats.com). I would like to experince a little more of Utah's powder.

My question lies in where to stay Saturday night and where to ski Sunday. Man I hate problems like this!

Any trail recommendations at your favorite area?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
MadMonk
February 14, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004 🔗
235 posts
I just got back from Utah for the first time where I skied Park City twice and Alta and the Canyons once a piece. Between Park City and the Canyons I'm not sure which one I'd recommend. Both have their good and their bad.

With Park City the bad is certain areas of the mountain can become quite crowded (stuff off the Bonanza chair for example). Other parts are really nice. I liked Blue Slip Bowl (Pioneer Chair), McConkey's Bowl (McConkey Chair), Keystone, Hoist, & Thayer (Thayer Chair) and Fools Gold and Gloryhole (Motherlode Chair).

The Canyons is simply huge and very spread out. I'd ignore the stuff on the right side of the trail map. We wasted about a few too many hours over there. We really liked the tree/bump skiing off of the dreamscape chair, the one run we did off the 9990 chair was really nice too. We simply ran out of time before getting a chance to explore more.

Also, every local I met raved about Snowbasin saying that you can get untracked there for days after a dump.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 15, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,700 posts
Do some checking about your airline. Do you qualify for the Utah ski free for the first day program? Believe you would have to arrive after midnight to ski free on Sunday. It applies to Canyons, PC and Deer Valley. DV would be my choice in that case, just to experience one of the most expensive areas for free.
If that is not in the cards for you, I would concur with the idea of checking out Snowbasin. Maybe stay in a chain motel up around Ogden. Snowbasin supposed to have some sweet, long cruisers and great, uncrowded lift system. If you want to stay closer to Alta, maybe sleep in Sandy, then try Solitude in BCC.
Crush
February 15, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
Hi! Maybe I'll see ya up here! Well in Park City the Holiday Inn Express at Kimbal Junction is a pretty nice hotel for not too much money. The Best Western is not as nice and almost as expensive. Nice thing is you are only 40 minutes door-to-door from SLC airport.

As for where to ski? Well since I live at The Canyons you know my pick! But really .... I find Park City Mountain Resort to be boring terrain-wise, but that is just me. On my days when my mid-week pass does not work, I usually ski at Deer Valley if I am staying in PC.
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SCWVA
February 15, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Thanks for your suggestions. I was told on my earlier trips to Utah to stay away from Deer Valley and Park City, unless of course you like groomers or want to do some shopping. I will admit that Park City has a great village/town.

I've heard good things about The Canyons and also Powder Mountain. I heard that Powder Mountain had dumped a bunch of $ into village and operations for Olympics. Has anyone skied Powder Mountain?

We're looking to spend most of our time skiing bumps, trees, & steeps. A little Pow Pow thrown in would be nice.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
February 15, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,201 posts
Quote:

We're looking to spend most of our time skiing bumps, trees, & steeps. A little Pow Pow thrown in would be nice.




That's easy - Alta.
Roger Z
February 15, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I'll put in a plug for checking out Big Cottonwood Canyon while you're there (Solitude and Brighton). Good place to get away from the crowds and nice terrain.

Found this today while looking for hope in this otherwise bleak winter. Alta has a snow tracker:

http://www.alta.com/Frames/snow_report_snowtracker.htm

Looks like the snow has been a little wetter than usual out there. Solitude is reporting 480 inches and, while I think there can be some discrepancies between the two canyons, 60 inches could be a bit much. Anyway, the season seems to be going pretty well in Utah with no end in sight at this point. Have heard that southern CO and NM and AZ are doing well this year too. From what I can remember, that's pretty much standard El Nino weather patterns, but I could be wrong there.

Regardless, that snow tracker is a good way to keep an eye on how things have been going out in UT.
Crush
February 15, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
Rite-on RodgerZ !!! Brighton/Solitude are reaaaaaalllly nice!

But Powder Mountain or Snowbasin are great when storms come from the north, but can be sketchy if you hit them at the wrong time. Pow Mou is great though with its vast terrain.


Oh and guys ..... its dumping today!!!! I see a foot out in the parking lot! I am going to bust out of work by 9:00 AM and my friend Nicole is going to have "the cramps" in about two hours ... poor baby!

Here's what it looks like ...
http://www.thecanyons.com/otm/livewebcams.aspx#
MadMonk
February 15, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004 🔗
235 posts
I got stuck on the Albion lift at Alta w/ a guy staying at Powder Mtn. It's not that he was a bore but the lift ride lasted about 35 minutes (feet fell asleep). He said that one of their lifts was down and thus about 1/3 of the terrain was down.

He did say that his a great pitch for powder skiing and that you can ski off the back of the mtn where there are no lifts but that the resort runs a shuttle about every 15 minutes to pick up skiers and bring them back to the base. He said that powder tends to last for days up there compared to the morning at Alta/Snowbird.
Murphy
February 15, 2005
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
Quote:

Have heard that southern CO and NM and AZ are doing well this year too. From what I can remember, that's pretty much standard El Nino weather patterns, but I could be wrong there.




I think that's right. The northwest gets nothing. Southern Cal gets flooding and the southern Rockies get all the good stuff. I also think it's why we've been getting more rain and ice than in a typical year. Most of our storms have come from the Southwest rather than the Northwest. Of course some of the biggest dumps can come from this pattern as well if everything works out right.
warren
February 15, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
Roger,
I agree, in Brighton I like the Great Western lift (some really great hill-sides to play on ) and also the Millecent lift. Solitude there's a lot of fun all around the mountain. Of course, you HAVE to drop into Honeycomb Canyon, that's a blast

-Warren-
ScotS244
February 15, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004 🔗
122 posts
Quote:

and also Powder Mountain. I heard that Powder Mountain had dumped a bunch of $ into village and operations for Olympics. Has anyone skied Powder Mountain?



Actually, the resort you're thinking about is Snowbasin and that place is friggin' awesome. So is PowMou... when it has received recent snow but like someone else mentioned, the lifts there are pretty darn slow. You can also do some cat-skiing off Lightning Ridge at PowMou. A tow up to the ridge is seven bucks and offers over 2500 feet of open pow fields. However, you simply can't beat Snowbasin if the conditions are good. Their lift service is amazing. It's quick and easy to get around the mountain and they have all the terrain you like. Off piste stuff is an easy hike off the Strawberry Express gondola and a few other places. Right hand side of the resort is a lot of black and double black stuff. You'll love it.
Roy
February 17, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
Hook up with Crush if you can. Great skier and great guide.
Crush
February 17, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
Hey thanks Roy it was a pleasure skiing with you and your group you guys are so fun! And it's nice to ski with an expert skier like yourself that enjoys steeps and ungroomed stuff .... yeeee haaaaw!
SCWVA
February 17, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Crush,

We fly out to Utah on March 12. I'm thinking of taking our advice and skiing The Canyons on Sunday. When we get closer I'll send you a PM and see if we can't hook up. It would be nice to have someone to ski with that knows the area. Even if we don't hook up, may be you can give us some advice on which area of the mountain to hit or not to hit.

Any other DCSKI members going to be in Utah on March 12?

PS: How's was your sick day? And has your friend gotten over her cramps yet? I saw some pictures of your latest dump. It made me sick also.
warren
February 17, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
SCWVA,
Well, I'll be there before you guys. I'm going from 3/3 - 3/6. I'll let you know how it was. I wasn't going to Utah this year but I just couldn't resist!!

-Warren-
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 17, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,700 posts
Getting a local stud to show you around his major mtn is definitely nice and probably trumps all other considerations.
Lietmotiv
February 17, 2005
Member since 12/31/2001 🔗
113 posts
Alta / Solitude are great. Avoid Park City for the principal of it and the crowds. You said you have been to Snowbird so I assume you have hit the mineral basin. If not that is a great place to find some powder if you know where to look.

Canyons is fun too. Very very large and they have a great parking situation. Just park and get on the parking lot mini-gondola.

I ski utah at least 10 days a season. As long as you hit Alta the trip was a success.

Here is a panorama pic from the Mineral Basin:

You can actually spot some great runs from the pic.Click on it to see supersize image.

I took a ton of pics. You can see em here:

Alta-Snowbird Pics
Solitude Pics
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 17, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,700 posts
Hidden Peak, am I correct? That's an eyeful, wide FOV. I feel like I'm sittin' in on an IMAX film.
Lietmotiv
February 17, 2005
Member since 12/31/2001 🔗
113 posts
Yep. Hidden Peak. ~11,000' Was a beautiful day.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
February 17, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,104 posts
Thanks for the great pictures. I really need to get out to Utah this year. It is truly a fantastic place to ski, and to live!!!!!!!!!!
Wonmderful picts. Thanks again,
The Colonel
ScotS244
February 18, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004 🔗
122 posts
Lietmotiv, nice pics man. How did you like Solitude? Did you ski the Honeycomb Canyon?

Hey Crush, I'll be out your way with my wife starting next Friday. We already have lift tix for a day at the Canyons, most likely will hit it on the 26th or 28th. If you want to meet up please send me a PM. I'll also be out there with my best bud March 11th, 12th and 13th.
Crush
February 18, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
Lietmotiv - I stood nearly in the same spot and looked at that view out over the stuff under the Little Cloud chair and into the valley of SLC on just such a day ... it was the day I said to myself "God, I can't leave this" and I decided to stay.
tromano
February 18, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Quote:

Lietmotiv - I stood nearly in the same spot and looked at that view out over the stuff under the Little Cloud chair and into the valley of SLC on just such a day ... it was the day I said to myself "God, I can't leave this" and I decided to stay.




Good Call.
warren
February 22, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
Crush,
Well, I keep finding myself coming back!

-Warren-
kennedy
August 22, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
All right I know it's early but the itch is killing me and my mind is turning to all things white.

It's been a while since I've done a full week anywhere and I'm thinking for this year Utah will be the one. I'm thinking of flying in and staying in SLC and shuttling to the mountains. Is this a good idea or am I totally out of my gourd???

Crush if you should happen to be reading this in the off season, oh mighty one of all things Utah and powder, your guidance would be greatly appreciated.
Swimmer
August 22, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
Stayed downtown within walking distance to the Temple last March (2005) and drove up to Alta each day. The drive was pleasant, maybe 30 minutes if that long. The scenery is so distracting you really don't mind the drive.

I'm with you, dreaming of all things white. Been kicking around plans to head out west for a ski trip when I found a Wilderness Medical Institute class in Sandy UT for a few dates in Feb. Perfect. Work will pay for the class, I can write off airfare on my taxes, and have a perfect window to just stay out for a few days to have a good time.

Steve
kennedy
August 23, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
I've been on Orbitz and seen flight and hotel for 7 days in SLC for 632 with 2 people sharing a room. That seems pretty good to me. Lift tickets I'm sure will be around the mid 60's/day but I was wondering if there was something like a multi pass that you buy for week that lets you hit multiple mountains. I'm thinking Park City, Snowbird, the Canyons maybe. I have friend who is trying to push going to Vermont but nice as Vermont is it's not Utah.
POWPOW
August 23, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
tickets are also very cheap there at alta,the bird, solitude and brighton they were $42 a day with the super pass. you can buy at most hotels or at some grocery stores see the site for listings

Super Pass

you will pay more at park city and gaper valley and canyons.

SLC is in my opinion the best value because you get to stay in a metro area with regular hotel prices (non resort), Awesome dependable snow, and pretty cheap tickets and fairly inexpensive food. I was lucky enough last season to ski there for 3 different weeks. im going for another 3 this year.
kennedy
August 23, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
three weeks!!! damn. What is the story on nightlife in SLC I've heard thusual rumours, whats the real scoop.

Oh the wife has also decided she wants to go. Now don't get me wrong I am all for her getting into skiing, but she is prolly a level 2 skier and I worry that Utah would be way too much for her.
POWPOW
August 23, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
nightlife isnt the greatest but there are some spots. i am ussually so beat that after a couple beers with dinner im out,besides when you want first tracks you have to be up with the dawn patrol.
She will find that utah is no different really, just bigger and much much better snow. The differences are in the harder terrain steeps,bowls and trees where it is a real step up from here.
jimmy
August 23, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Kennedy, i agree w/POWPOW in that i'm skiing hard and dinner and a few drinks is all the nitelife i can stand, i'm an old pig though . Staying in SLC and commuting to the mountains is a cost effective way to go. Lot's of good info on this topic here.
ScotS244
August 23, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004 🔗
122 posts
Kennedy,
Yes indeed, Utah is the place to go for an inexpensive and fabulous ski experience. The past few years I have gone on many trips there, both with my wife and solo. Even met PowderPig there last year. The bottom line is that great deals can be had. Last year I found a round-tripper for under $220, booked a hotel through Hotwire and ended up in the Homestead Suites for $25 bucks a night. Homestead even had the super-pass which has already been mentioned for $42 clams and this is good at any of the Cottonwood Canyon resorts. I rented a car while I was there; usually do for convenience - however, if you plan wisely, there are a number of hotel/motel places along the train and bus lines that roll straight up the ski resorts. I'd recommend this if you are on a serious mission to save money. It's nice to have the car if you want to check out somewhere a little farther away like Snowbasin, PowMow or the places around PC. As far as nightlife goes, it can be found. In PC it's out in the open and in your face. That place has some great bars and it's always jumping. In the SLC suburbs it's a different story. I had no problems finding a sports bar or a brew pub. The unique thing is the alcohol status in a given place - some places are classified as "private clubs" in which you must pay a membership fee to participate in drinking activities. Think of it as a cover charge - they don't usually ask for too much. You may want to search out the nearest state run liquor store, but be prepared for some shocking prices. Anyhow, I think you should defintely do it and DO NOT worry about your wife being able to handle the slopes out there. Every place has awesome beginner and lower level skiing. Not to worry. Go out there and have fun.
Crush
August 23, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
kennedy - hey everybody here pretty much nailed it .... the best thing to do is stay in someplace just a little outside of SLC like Midvale or something that is near what they call "the benches" ... the place just on the edge of East SLC where the Wasatch mountains start. If you do that you will be an easy 20-40 minutes from just about everything except Snowbasin/Powder Mountain which is near Ogden.

As ScotS said nightlife in SLC is spotty - around Pierpont Ave. there are some nice resturants and a few dance clubs on 200 South Street. If you want it all concentrated in one place Park City's Old Town is good ... most people from the surrounding areas come in to PC on a Sat. night and maybe go to Club Suede or Harry O's and there are lots of nice resturants to blow lots of money in .... oh BTW The Monkey Bar is closed for now the Mormons objected to the rather tame stage dancers they had apparently dancing nude behind a screen ... whatever!

If you stay in SLC proper try to be near Ceasar Chavez Blvd ... easy access to the I-80 from there. There are lots of little cheap motels along South State Street ... small and a few are run down a bit but if you are on a budget ... and once again you are near I-80.

In Park City things can be expensive. Your best bets are the Holiday Inn Express or The Copperbottom Inn (my mom stayed there for $90/night on a package Dec 20-29 which is pretty darn good). Forget the Best Western unless you like highway noise at night, and it is not that much cheaper.

If you want to go the off-the-beaten-track, get a motel room in Ogden and visit Snowbasin or Powder Mountain. I expecially like Snowbasin (think Strawberry Gondola area .. no crowds). Or Stay in Midway, just outside of Park City on Hwy 40. You are about 20 minutes from Deer Valley and just a bit more to Park City and The Canyons. And you are about 40 minutes from Robert Redford's place, Sundance. In fact if your lady is a "leve II" she might like the place it skis like a giant version of Whitetail, and still has enough terrain for gonzo skiing as well. And it is just plain charming (make sure to visit the Bear Claw Cabin for a rustic retro rest stop).

. Or do the regular thing and hit Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon. Solitude/Brighton is nice without a high intimidation factor. But of course, for the ultimate it would be Snowbird/Alta. If you like to challenge yourself, there is nothing like comming into the upper header station for the Tram at Snowbird and going over Rat's Nest with its crazy-insane lines. BUT .... on a powder day get is early or it's gone fast! If you miss the powder go to The Canyons you can usually find stashes 24 hrs later.

OH - and P.S. if you go to a "private club" for drinks do what the locals do .. if they ask you if you are a member just say YES and then look them in the eyes and say you don't have your membership card but you must be in the computer somewhere .. this is a standard wink-wink-nudge-nudge because they don't probably even have a "computer" har har har.

Have fun!
kennedy
August 23, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
Awesome. Thanks for the golden info. I've been gently nudging the wife towards the idea that it may be too much and instead we could go on a weekend hop to Vermont just the two of us then I'll go to Utah with my usual crew. See how that works weekend hop to Vermont for her, week of powder slashing insanity for me and the other hardcore.
ScotS244
August 23, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004 🔗
122 posts
I think we should think about a DC Ski Utah trip. Nothing formal, but pick a date once the season has started - hit up a nice, cheap joint like La Quinta or Homestead and go with whatever place sounds good each day. Chill at the brew pub at the base of the Canyons after a ski day... I know PowderPig is down for it. Gonna get some fatties this year so I'll be chomping at the bit to get out there!
Swimmer
August 23, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
My wife, child and I will be out there President's Day Weekend. She is not that much of a skier, but I'll already be out there attending a class. We figured it would be a nice chance for her and the boy to fly out for the long weekend from school. (she's a teacher, the boy is 2)

My plan is to hang out for few days after they leave to rip up some turns. So the Tuesday following President's Day, I'll be looking for some company. I am in no way a hot dogger, in fact, I spend more time digging snow out of my ears than I do ripping big lines. But darn if I don't have fun trying. If conditions are less than stellar in SLC, but looking prime in Jackson Hole, I am not opposed to a road trip north. Did it last year, 5 hours one way, nice drive.

Steve

Steve
TerpSKI
August 24, 2005
Member since 03/10/2004 🔗
167 posts
Quote:

three weeks!!! damn. What is the story on nightlife in SLC I've heard thusual rumours, whats the real scoop.

Oh the wife has also decided she wants to go. Now don't get me wrong I am all for her getting into skiing, but she is prolly a level 2 skier and I worry that Utah would be way too much for her.




My wife learned to ski in Utah. She was a never-ever and got hooked. (Good for me!) There is definitely a lot of easier terrain (even at Alta), and little ice.

As for night life, if it is in your budget you should stay in Park City. Its a lot of fun and a real nice town. There are some budget places there, but will still be more than in SLC/burbs.
kennedy
August 24, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
The prob more than anything is that most of us going are solid advanced boarders and skiers. Unless we have a few other beginners it's not going to be a lot of fun for her to feel like she'd holding us back. One thing that was great about learning to ride in Andorra was that the lessons were all day everyday and everyday you always had the same group so by the end of the first day you know you have a bunch of people at your ability level to ride with. I haven't found anything like that here, shame. I think if we get her enough slopetime and some more lessons this year she will be in good shape.
snowbird
September 8, 2005
Member since 02/28/2004 🔗
51 posts
Quote:

Alta / Solitude are great. Avoid Park City for the principal of it and the crowds. You said you have been to Snowbird so I assume you have hit the mineral basin. If not that is a great place to find some powder if you know where to look.

Canyons is fun too. Very very large and they have a great parking situation. Just park and get on the parking lot mini-gondola.

I ski utah at least 10 days a season. As long as you hit Alta the trip was a success.

Here is a panorama pic from the Mineral Basin:

You can actually spot some great runs from the pic.Click on it to see supersize image.

I took a ton of pics. You can see em here:

Alta-Snowbird Pics
Solitude Pics




you can spend an entire week at snowbird and not get bored.

there is going to be a skinc summit in utah this winter, any1 other than me that reads on here going to attend????
jan 28th to feb 4th. read up on skinc.com messageboard.
Crush
September 8, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
Quote:

you can spend an entire week at snowbird and not get bored




hmmmm even the Steak Pit might get a little a little boring after a week ... but then again I am a drunk, substance-abusing, sex-obsessed ski bum with delusions of grandeur that needs constant simulation and excess.

... but the skiing is good!
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
September 8, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,104 posts
For some reason I was unable to open your pictures. Any advice?
The Colonel
POWPOW
September 9, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
Quote:

Quote:

you can spend an entire week at snowbird and not get bored




hmmmm even the Steak Pit might get a little a little boring after a week ... but then again I am a drunk, substance-abusing, sex-obsessed ski bum with delusions of grandeur that needs constant simulation and excess.

... but the skiing is good!




You sound like my kind of ski partner
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